More on the 5am thing

I’ve been doing this “get up at 5am and do stuff” thing for about a month now. Despite the relative quiet on my blog, I’ve been really productive. My goal was to start getting to the gym regularly and to spend more time drawing. I think it’s going well.

I’m still figuring out what kind of gym schedule I prefer. This week, I am trying Mon-Wed-Fri for the gym and using the extra time on Tuesday and Thursday to do whatever I feel like. Today, it’s writing this blog post. Sometimes I clean my office and sometimes I just sit and snuggle my cat. I always spend at least an hour working on art.

What’s great is that doing the creative work in the morning relieves the pressure of trying to cram it in after my day job, when my brain is fried and I just want to relax. I’ve been watching TV and playing video games with my wife, and even getting some reading in before I go to sleep most nights. We even go out to get coffee and write sometimes.

So, I’m still making adjustments and figuring things out, but overall I think this has been a good change for me.

5am: Day 1

I stayed up to watch the Super Bowl with my wife last night. After that, I had trouble falling asleep because my body was basically saying, “Dude, what are you doing? It’s not even midnight yet.”

5am arrived sooner than I would have liked.

Thankfully, my wife — who is awesome — had set the daylight alarm clock to go off at 5am, so when my tablet started playing music at me, the room was already bright.

My gym clothes were already laid out, so I got changed, ate a yogurt, and got to the gym a bit before 5:30. I worked out for an hour and was home by 6:30. After showering and eating a banana, I had my coffee ready to go by 7am — my regular wake up time.

I generally start work at 8am, so with an hour to play with, I decided to fire up Medibang Paint and create some art. It only took 30 seconds of staring at the blank canvas to understand that my brain is not quite ready for kicking ass this early, so instead of shooting for “art”, I just played around with the different brushes that the program offers, just to see what kinds of things they do.

The end result is basically a toddler’s fever dream:

I hope this isn't the one thing I do that survives the ages.

I hope this isn’t the one thing I do that survives the ages.

I feel good. I’m tired from not getting enough sleep, but I think that will work itself out over the next few days. I love that I’ve already exercised today. I’m going to need extra coffee, and I need to eat more food, but I’m glad I tried this.

Trying Something Crazy

My wife recently read a book called “The 5am Miracle,” which she summed up as, “You can get a lot done if you get up really early.” Obvious, right? Sometimes we need to read a book about something obvious before we give it a shot. Does anyone else do this?

The book doesn’t use 5am as the magical wakey time that works for everyone — the idea is simply to do some stuff in the morning before your obligations kick in. This week, I’m thinking I’ll just go all-in and set my alarm for 5.

Currently, my average day goes something like this:

  • 7am: Wake up
  • 8am: Begin work day
  • 4:30pm: End work day; begin sitting on couch, possible nap
  • 6pm: Maybe go work on something for a bit, like writing or drawing
  • 7:30pm: Begin TV or video games, maybe.
  • 9pm: Decide not to go to the gym; tomorrow night?
  • 11:30: Get ready for bed; stare at tablet or phone
  • 12 or 1am: Fall asleep

This week, I’m aiming to get up at 5am and go straight to the gym. Once I’m home and showered, I’ll have time to write for a bit before I start working. Depending on how long I work out and write, I may shift my work day back a bit, or maybe just find another thing to do in the morning.

But man, 5am sounds brutal right now. We’ll see how well it works and if I can stick to it. I’ll write about the experience next week.